Kathryn Lopez

And there's something else worth noting: While it wouldn't be wise for the president to launch a national lecture campaign (we get way too much of that from the current commander in chief) on so intimate an issue, it must be said that his view is not as fringe-oriented as it is portrayed. Obviously, he is informed by his Catholic faith here. But in recent years, we've seen the testimony of women who realize the damage that contraception has done in their lives, in their relationships. One New York magazine cover story marking the anniversary of oral contraceptives included the following: "The Pill didn't create the field of infertility medicine, but it turned it into an enormous industry. Inadvertently, indirectly, infertility has become the Pill's primary side effect."

The family unit is one that can help keep us out of poverty and keep us healthy and happy. It's worth boosting, and the changes that law and technology have made in our lives are part of that discussion. Contraception may not be the priority of the commander in chief, but let's not pretend it's irrelevant to who we are and where we are going as a people. This president's administration, mandating health-care coverage for contraception and sterilization, certainly hasn't taken this into consideration.

During his near-victory speech in Iowa, Santorum said: "God has given us this great country to allow his people to be free, has given us that dignity because we are a creation of his. We need to honor that creation. And whether it's the sanctity of life in the womb or the dignity of every working person in America to fulfill their potential, you will have a friend in Rick Santorum."

His career has been characterized by a mix of approaches: He has used the levers of government and the powerful platforms available to those in the public square, highlighting and encouraging others to bolster that God-given dignity. It's not the creepy thing it's portrayed as; what's unsettling is the insistence on caricaturing him as some sort of shrill Puritan bogeyman.

In this campaign, Santorum has not been lecturing about so-called social issues. But he gets asked about them, and he answers honestly. Can't we be honest too?

Kathryn Lopez is the editor-at-large of National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). She can be contacted at klopez@nationalreview.com.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.